About Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer – Fact Sheet
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Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in the United States and was founded in 1996, after the country hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup. MLS kicks off its 19th season on March 8, 2014.
CLUBS in 2014:
Eastern Conference: Western Conference:
Chicago Fire Chivas USA
Columbus Crew Colorado Rapids
D.C. United FC Dallas
Houston Dynamo LA Galaxy
Sporting Kansas City Real Salt Lake
Montreal Impact Portland Timbers
New England Revolution San Jose Earthquakes
New York Red Bulls Seattle Sounders FC
Philadelphia Union Vancouver Whitecaps FC
· The 19 MLS teams each play a 34-game regular season schedule, 17 at home and 17 away, starting March 8.
· Last season, the Sporting Kansas City hoisted the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy – winning MLS Cup for the second time in club history as they beat Real Salt Lake in the MLS Cup Final at Sporting Park. SKC defender Aurelien Collin earned MLS Cup MVP honors.
· In 2013, the New York Red Bulls were awarded the Supporters’ Shield, given to the team that finishes with the most regular season points, for the fourth time in club history.
· In 2012, average attendance during the regular season rose for the fourth consecutive year to 18,807 spectators a game, surpassing the all-time record for the second straight year. Total attendance also hit a new high mark – 6,074,729.
· In 2013, 15 of 19 clubs’ home venues are considered soccer specific stadiums – built or renovated with MLS ownership involvement.
· In 2013, MLS announced the addition of New York City FC and Orlando City SC as the league’s 20th and 21st teams, respectively, and that league plans to add three more expansion teams by the 2020 season.
- In 2013, MLS clubs are home to players born in more than 60 countries outside the United States and Canada, demonstrating the diversity of Major League Soccer. Among the five major team professional sports leagues in the United States, MLS is the most diverse. About two-thirds of the entire MLS player pool is U.S.-born.
· A description of several notable MLS players follows:
oLandon Donovan (LA Galaxy): Considered the best American player ever, Donovan, 31, is the all-time leader in goals and assists for the U.S. Men’s National Team (including two in South Africa), a five-time MLS Cup winner and the League’s 2009 Volkswagen Most Valuable Player.
oThierry Henry (New York Red Bulls): French superstar and former Arsenal and FC Barcelona standout joined the Red Bulls on July 14, 2010. The World Cup winner is considered one of the best players in the world during the last decade.
oRobbie Keane(LA Galaxy): Ireland’s all-time leading goal scorer and one of the top ten goal scorers in the history of the Premier League, Keane joined the Galaxy during the 2011 summer transfer window and helped lead the Galaxy to the MLS Cup title in 2011 and 2012.
oClint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC): The current captain of the U.S. national team returned to MLS after spending more than six years in the English Premier League. The 30-year-old Designated Player made his debut with the Sounders FC on August 10.
oChris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes): The one-time reserve division player has emerged as a world-class finisher and is the first player in League history to lead or tie for the lead in goals for three consecutive seasons. In 2012, “Wondo” tied the all-time single-season goals mark of 27, set by Tampa Bay Mutiny forward Roy Lassiter in the inaugural 1996 season.
oGraham Zusi(Sporting Kansas City): A crafty two-way midfielder, Zusi led MLS in assists in 2012 with 15 and added five goals while establishing himself on the U.S. Men’s National Team with standout performances during World Cup Qualifying.
oBrad Davis (Houston Dynamo):His 92 career assists rank second among active players and he is known as one of the best set piece specialists in League history. The St. Louis native has led the Dynamo to four MLS Cup finals in seven seasons.
oFederico Higuaín(Columbus Crew): The 29-year-old Argentine took MLS by storm upon his midseason arrival in 2012, notching five goals and seven assists in just 13 games leading the Crew on a late surge that left them one point shy of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Major League Soccer is structured as a single, limited liability company (single-entity). In the single-entity business structure, club operators own a financial stake in the League, not just their individual team. The MLS investors are:
· Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG):Investor-operator of the Houston Dynamo and LA Galaxy (other domestic sports business ventures include the Staples Center, The Home Depot Center, the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings).
· Hunt Sports Group:Investor-operator of FC Dallas (other sports business ventures include the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and NBA’s Chicago Bulls).
· Kraft Soccer, LLC:Investor-operator of the New England Revolution (other sports business ventures include the NFL’s New England Patriots and Gillette Stadium).
· Kroenke Sports Enterprises:Investor-operator of the Colorado Rapids (other sports business ventures include the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, NFL’s St. Louis Rams and EPL’s Arsenal).
· Dell Loy Hansen: Investor-operator of Real Salt Lake. Utah-based entrepreneur and Real Estate developer became sole owner of the club in January, 2013, after purchasing co-ownership stake in a trio of properties – Real Salt Lake, Rio Tinto Stadium and ESPN700 Sports Talk Radio - previously owned by Dave Checketts and SCP Worldwide.
· Red Bull Company Limited: Investor-operator of Red Bull New York. The Austrian company produces the world’s leading energy drink. Other sports investments include a NASCAR team, Red Bull Salzburg, extreme sports and Formula One auto racing.
· Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment:Investor-operator of Toronto FC (other sports business ventures include the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, NBA’s Toronto Raptors and Air Canada Center).
· OnGoal, LLC: Investor-operator group of Sporting Kansas City consists of five Kansas City-area residents led by Cerner Corporation executives Neal Patterson and Cliff Illig.
· D.C. United Holdings:Investor-operators of D.C. United are Erick Thohir, Jason Levien. William H.C. ("Will") Chang, Chang holds ownership interest in Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants, while Thohir and Levien hold ownership interest in the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.
· John Fisher and Lew Wolff:Investor-operator of the San Jose Earthquakes joined MLS as an expansion team in the Western Conference for the 2008 season. Fisher and Wolff are the principle owners of MLB’s Oakland Athletics.
· Andell Holdings, LLC:Investor-operator of the Chicago Fire. Andell Holdings is a private investment firm with global business and investment interests led by Andrew Hauptman.
· Joe Roth, Adrian Hanauer, Drew Carey and Paul Allen (Vulcan Sports and Entertainment ): Investor-operators of Seattle Sounders FC consist of Hollywood producer Joe Roth, local entrepreneur Adrian Hanauer, television personality Drew Carey and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen (owner of VSE that operates the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and NBA’s Portland Trailblazers).
· Keystone Sports and Entertainment, LLC:Investor-operators of Philadelphia Union includes iStar Financial Chairman & CEO Jay Sugarman, veteran sports executive Nick Sakiewicz, Christopher and Robert Buccini and David Pollin, founding partners of The Buccini/Pollin Group.
· Golden Boy Productions and Brener International Group: Mexican-American boxing icon Oscar De La Hoya and Gabriel Brener together invested in the Houston Dynamo and now own 50 percent of the club.
· Greg Kerfoot, Jeff Mallett, Steve Luczo and Steve Nash: Investor-operators of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC include Greg Kerfoot (founder of software company Business Objects), Jeff Mallett (former Yahoo! President and COO and owner of English club Derby County FC), Steve Luczo (President and CEO of Seagate Technology) and Steve Nash (current NBA player and Vancouver native).
· Peregrine, LLC: Investor-operator group of the Portland Timbers consists of former U.S. Treasury Secretary and CEO of Goldman Sachs Hank Paulson and his son, Merritt Paulson, a professional sports entrepreneur.
· Free 2 Play Holdings: Joey Saputo is the principal Investor-Operator of the Montreal Impact. The Saputo Family is the founder of Saputo, a major international dairy products company.
· Precourt Sports Ventures LLC: Investor-operator group of the Columbus Crew. PSV is a privately held investment and management firm focused on sport-entertainment business led by Managing Partner Anthony Precourt.
· City Football Group US Holdco LLC: Investor-operator group of New York City Football Club consists of a partnership of Manchester City Football Club and the New York Yankees. Manchester City will be the majority owner of the new club. As an investor, the Yankees will be an active member of the ownership group. Team to begin play in 2015.
· Orlando Sports Holdings, LLC: Investor-operators of Orlando City SC include majority owner Flavio Augusto da Silva, and founder and managing partner Phil Rawlins (other sports business ventures include EPL’s Stoke City F.C.). Team to begin play in 2015.
Major League Soccer has elevated the sport’s stature in North America by building soccer-specific stadiums. In 1999, the League began moving aggressively to create custom-made venues for its teams that generate the atmosphere and intimacy the game deserves. The seating capacity for these stadiums is between 18,000 and 27,000 and the stadiums share design concepts with some of the finest soccer venues in the world. In 2013, 15 of 19 MLS clubs play their home games in stadiums built with soccer in mind. The existing MLS soccer stadiums are:
· Columbus Crew Stadium (Columbus, Ohio): Opened in 1999 as the home of the Columbus Crew. Built by the Hunt Family, this stadium has hosted two All-Star Games, MLS Cup and many important U.S. National Team games.
· StubHub Center (Carson, Calif.):Opened in 2003 and is the luxurious home of both the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA.
· Toyota Stadium (Frisco, Texas): Opened in 2005 as the home of FC Dallas. Hosted MLS Cup 2005 and MLS Cup 2006. A 145-acre multipurpose sports complex with 17 tournament-grade fields.
· Toyota Park (Bridgeview, Ill.): Located just 15 minutes south of downtown Chicago, the handsome venue debuted in 2006 and hosted the Sierra Mist All-Star Game with Chelsea FC competing against the MLS All-Stars.
· BMO Field (Toronto, Canada): Toronto FC began play in MLS in 2007 and was host of the 2008 MLS All-Star Game and MLS Cup 2010.
· Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (Commerce City, Colo.): The Colorado Rapids’ stadium opened in 2007 and is the centerpiece of a 24-field soccer complex believed to be one of the world’s largest.
· Rio Tinto Stadium (Sandy, Utah): Real Salt Lake’s stadium opened in 2008 and was the host of the 2009 MLS All-Star Game.
· Red Bull Arena (Harrison, N.J.): The New York Red Bulls state-of-the-art stadium, inaugurated in 2010, is located 10 miles from midtown Manhattan. It features a dynamic form roof—a curving structure that wraps the entire 25,189-seat stadium in an elegant metal shell.
· PPL Park (Chester, Penn.): This world-class waterfront stadium located just over 15 miles from Center City, Philadelphia. Built at the foot of the Commodore Barry Bridge, this 18,500-seat stadium is the home to Philadelphia Union and was inaugurated in 2010. PPL Park hosted the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game on July 25, 2012.
· Providence Park (Portland, Ore.):Already steeped in sports and entertainment history, Providence Park underwent a $31 million renovation to create an exciting and authentic soccer facility.
· BC Place (Vancouver, Canada): Vancouver began their inaugural season in MLS at Empire Field before moving into the new BC Place Stadium in downtown Vancouver on October 2, 2011 when the club hosted its rival, Portland Timbers. BC Place has made improvements to the stadium with soccer fans in mind. The revitalized stadium seats 21,000 fans during regular season MLS matches.
· Sporting Park (Kansas City, Kansas):The $180 million plus, state-of-the-art, soccer-specific stadium seats 18,467 soccer supporters and features a dramatic canopy roof that covers every seating section. The stadium features 36 suites and five clubs, including the innovative Members Club.
· BBVA Compass Stadium (Houston, Texas):Houston Dynamo’s new downtown Houston stadium, which seats 22,000, opened on May 12, 2012, and didn't see the Dynamo lose a league contest for an entire calendar year as Houston's home unbeaten streak came to an end on May 12, 2013 against Sporting Kansas City.
· Stade Saputo (Montreal, Canada): Montreal Impact began their inaugural season in MLS at Olympic Stadium moving into the renovated Stade Saputo on the Olympic grounds in June of 2012.
· MLS has national television agreements in the United States with ESPN / ESPN Deportes, NBC Sports, NBC Sports Network, Univision networks, as well as in Canada with TSN and RDS.
· Every MLS match is televised in 2013, either nationally or regionally, and most are available live on www.MLSsoccer.com and www.FutbolMLS.com.
The portfolio of blue chip partners working with MLS to grow their business continues to expand with the growth of the League. A list of current sponsors, suppliers, and partners – including the year in which the partnership was formed – follows:
adidas(athletic apparel and equipment): 1996
Allstate (insurance): 2011
AT&T (communications services): 2009
Bimbo (bread): 2011
Castrol (motor oil): 2010
Continental Tire(tire): 2010
EA Sports(Video Game Publisher): 2012
Gatorade(isotonic sports drink): 2003
The Home Depot (home improvement retailer): 2008
JELD-WEN(windows / doors): 2011
LivingSocial(Social Commerce): 2012
Makita USA(tools): 2004
Microsoft Windows 8 (Operating System): 2013
Panasonic(consumer electronics): 2003
Pepsi(soft drink): 1996
Providence(health care): 2014
Quaker (breakfast products): 2012
Red Bull(energy drink): 2006
USA Today Sports Images (photography): 2013
Visa (payment services): 2007
Wells Fargo (retail banking, commercial lending): 2013
Xbox 360(video game console): 2008